Cecil Parker
Cecil Schwabe

(1897-09-03)3 September 1897
Hastings, Sussex, England
Died20 April 1971(1971-04-20) (aged 73)
Brighton, Sussex, England
Years active1928–1969
Muriel Anne Randall Brown
(m. 1927)

Cecil Parker (born Cecil Schwabe, 3 September 1897 – 20 April 1971) was an English actor with a distinctively husky voice, who usually played supporting roles, often characters with a supercilious demeanour, in his 91 films made between 1928 and 1969.


Parker was born in Hastings, Sussex, the second son (and fifth of six children) of German-born Charles August Schwabe, manager of the Albany Hotel, Hastings, and his English wife Kate (née Parker), a church organist.[1][2] He was educated at St Francis Xavier College, and at Bruges in Belgium.[3] He served with the Royal Sussex Regiment in the First World War, reaching the rank of sergeant.[4] He began his theatrical career in London in 1922, adopting the surname "Parker" from his mother's maiden name.[5][2] He made his first film appearance in 1933 and subsequently became a familiar face in British and occasionally American films until his death.[5] He appeared less often on television, but many of his films have remained popular and are often shown.[citation needed]

He acted in two adaptations of A. J. Cronin's novels, The Citadel (1938) and The Stars Look Down (1940), in addition to appearing in The Lady Vanishes (1938) and Under Capricorn (1949).[6] Both of these latter films were directed by Alfred Hitchcock.[7] Other roles were in Storm in a Teacup (1937), The Weaker Sex (1948), 23 Paces to Baker Street (1956), Dangerous Moonlight (1941), Swiss Family Robinson (1960), and I Was Monty's Double (1958), as well as the comedies A French Mistress (1960), The Ladykillers (1955), The Man in the White Suit (1951), The Court Jester (1955) (in which he played an evil, usurping king of England), Indiscreet (1958) and I Believe in You (1952).[8] Parker was also the original Charles Condomine in the West End production of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit.[9]

He often played a touchy senior officer or British upper class character, and his last two films were true to form: The Magnificent Two (1967) with the British comedy double act Morecambe and Wise and Richard Attenborough's version of Oh! What a Lovely War (1969).[8]

On November 20, 1950, he co-starred with Margaret O'Brien in "The Canterville Ghost", on Robert Montgomery Presents on TV.[10] He played a butler on one episode of The Avengers ("The £50,000 Breakfast").[11] In 1957 he played Dr. Morelle in BBC radio series, "A Case for Dr. Morelle" (13 episodes).[12]

Personal life

Parker was married to Muriel Anne Randell-Brown (born in Seacombe, Cheshire),[3] from September 1927 until his death in 1971, in Brighton.[13]



  1. ^ "Parker [formerly Schwabe], Cecil (1897–1971), actor". Oxford Index. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Sussex actor Cecil Parker had a big family secret". The Argus.
  3. ^ a b Who's Who in the Theatre by John Parker (11th Edition) (1952) (London)
  4. ^ Medal index card of Cecil Schwabe (WO 372/17/1925/12), The National Archive, Kew, Surrey, England
  5. ^ a b "BFI Screenonline: Parker, Cecil (1897-1971) Biography". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  6. ^ "Cecil Parker | Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  7. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Hitchcock, Alfred (1899-1980) Credits". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  8. ^ a b "Cecil Parker". BFI. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Blithe Spirit". Film at Lincoln Center.
  10. ^ "Television . . . . . . Highlights of the Week". Detroit Free Press. 19 November 1950. p. 22. Retrieved 13 April 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "The £50,000 Breakfast (1967)". BFI. Archived from the original on 21 November 2021.
  12. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra - A Case for Dr Morelle". BBC.
  13. ^ "Cecil Parker, 73, a British Actor". The New York Times. 22 April 1971.